The ongoing standoff between Hungary and other members of the EU escalated on Monday, with both sides accusing the other of “blackmail” ahead of a critical summit on aid for Ukraine.

Hungary's nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who has maintained close ties to the Kremlin since Russia invaded its pro-Western neighbour, vetoed a four-year, 50 billion euro ($54 billion) EU aid package for Kyiv back in December.

Orban's stance has left the European Union scrambling to secure a financial lifeline for Ukraine, made even more crucial with the US Congress deadlocked over future funds for the war effort, which is about to enter its third year.

In Brussels, officials have all but run out of patience with Orban and his brinksmanship over issues ranging from Ukraine and NATO to EU-mandated reforms at home.

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EU lawmakers have repeatedly likened his demands to “blackmail,” AFP reports.

“It's no coincidence that the EU member state that most often violates our shared values, that violates the rule of law, meaning Hungary, is also the member state that is consistently outside the EU consensus over aid to Ukraine,” Anna Luehrmann, Germany's minister for Europe, told reporters.

Luehrmann called it “absolutely unacceptable” that Hungary was also holding out on ratifying Sweden's membership in NATO, having suggested the fellow EU state should “negotiate” to win its backing.

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She urged the European Union to “harden” the tools at its disposal to bring Hungary into line. 

The Financial Times reported Monday that a confidential proposal circulating in Brussels called for shutting off all EU funding to Budapest, with the aim of spooking investors and sabotaging Hungary's fragile economy, should it refuse to play ball.

The report drew a furious response from Budapest.

“Hungary does not give in to blackmail!” Hungary's EU minister Janos Boka wrote on X, insisting that Budapest sought to “participate constructively” in discussions.

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Budapest said Monday that it had submitted a new “compromise” proposal in preparation for the summit.

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Comments ( 1)

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David
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Are we getting close to BudaPexit?

Fox
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@David, The UK is a financially self-sufficient country and can afford Brexit (whether it was right or not is another question), but Hungary will have very big problems without EU money. I still don’t understand why they give Hungary money at all

John
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@Fox, I agree. With Orban having control over both the media and judiciary, the citizens there are probably being fed propaganda and subverted as per putin's handbook. Maybe some economic pain will wake them up that they need to make better leadership choices. Of course if he's also pulling putin election shenanigans or inclined towards trump style insurrection attempts, perhaps a full on Maiden movement there will be required.

In the meantime despite their amazing thermal spas, Hungary's off my vacation (and consumption) list until at least Orban's gone. Same with Slovakia given their recent election of Fico, and also Turkey (albeit its an awesome country) under Erdogen's continued leadership..all these leaders are putin's buddies and economic recipients. Then there's all the UN member nations that directly or via "neutrality" indirectly support russia's invasion......Spend only in the nations that share your values!

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